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Friday, June 7 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Playing to teach and learn: pedagogies, challenges and ideas LIMITED
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We want to put the fun back into science teaching! Innovative pedagogies are discussed to develop teacher presence and children's enjoyment in primary science. Paper 1 reports on work completed with award winning teachers to identify an empowering model of classroom delivery based on principles of play embodied in traditional and modern ideas of Clown (Bala, 2010). In particular we follow Winnicott’s (1971) seminal work on developing the idea of ‘self’ through play in order to deconstruct ITE students’ ideas of what effective teaching might look like. This study is on-going doctoral research into outstanding science teaching in primary schools and seeks to develop a transformative pedagogy of teaching based on paedic and ludic principles (Gaulier, 2016; Kendrick, 2011; Caillois, 1958).

Talk 1 - Deborah Herridge
Using ideas of movement, mime, characterisation and voice captured on film from research in schools, the presentation draws parallels between exemplary science teaching and the idea of clowning. Here we use traditional and modern archetypes to model key elements of effective delivery and reframe the idea of 'fun' in the curriculum. In an age where our children are often depicted as being miserable and stressed and our student teachers show increasingly poor mental health, we seek to examine whether we have become so concerned with the technical elements of pedagogy and achieving learning objectives that we have failed to understand that learning can be fun and what fun is. We explore the innovative pedagogy of 'clown' in the classroom and its empowering effects.

Talk 2 - Debbie Myers
Leonardo da Vinci's Apprentices or tinkering belles and boys at ludic play? In this paper I report how tinkering 'playshops' and play spaces offer children opportunities to investigate, pull apart and manipulate simple mechanisms providing a foundation from which to re-construct, build and invent their own models, mechanisms and toys. In accordance with a constructivist epistemology such explorations and ludic play support the development of the pre-frontal cortex facilitating the (re)configuration of cognitive architecture and the maturation of the brain's executive control functions, enabling the child to manage self, plan, solve problems and to work collaboratively with others through complex social interactions (Papert, 1980; Martinez and Stager, 2014).

Talk 3 - Maria McGrory and Cathy Westgate
Children encounter the world holistically (Dewey, 1938; Alexander 2013) should one of the roles of education therefore be to enable children to respond to the world as authors, artists, poets, painters, scientists, mathematicians and makers? In this paper school leaders explain how playful approaches to learning have transformed teachers' practice and children's engagement in (science) learning within their school.

Chaired by Paul Ramchandani

Bala, M. (2010) The Clown: An Archetypal Self-Journey. Jung Journal, Volume 4, 2010 - Issue 1 Dewey, J. (1938) Experience and Education. Simon and Schuster.
Martinez, S. and Stager, G. (2014) The maker movement: A learning revolution. Learning & Leading with Technology, 41 (7), 12–17.
Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books.